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Hydrology of a tundra wetland complex on the Alaskan Arctic Coastal Plain, U.S.A



Hydrology of a tundra wetland complex on the Alaskan Arctic Coastal Plain, U.S.A



Arctic & Alpine Research 28(3): 311-317



The hydrology of the Alaskan Arctic Coastal Plain is investigated by studying a complex of small ponds and wetlands near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. The two summers (1992-93) during which this study took place were both drier than normal in the early part of the season. Summer water balance after snowmelt is dominated by evapotranspiration (ET), which exceeds precipitation in both ponds and wetlands. Water levels drop through June and July, when ET is greatest, and recover somewhat during August, when precipitation increases and ET decreases. Ponds and wetlands, which experience a net loss of water over the summer, are filled to capacity by snowmelt runoff in spring. Ponds and wetlands serve as storage sites for snowmelt runoff, the net loss of water over the wetland watershed from the previous summer must be replenished by snowmelt waters before runoff can leave the basin. Annual ET from ponds and wetlands exceeds annual precipitation and, as a result, snowmelt runoff from surrounding upland areas is necessary to maintain wetlands and ponds.

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Accession: 002861884

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